Get full access to one story every week, and to summaries of all other stories. Just create a free account

I recently came upon a four-decade-old article in The New York Times on Gore Vidal, the often-glib and always-narcissistic writer. One of the last lines was on how Vidal loved lecturing and campaigning for political office. “Some writers take to drink, others take to audiences,” he said.

It became immediately apparent to me how much the second half of that remark applies to all of us at The Ken, except our audience is our subscribers. And we don’t just take to them; we are obsessed with creating value for them—by telling compelling stories day in, day out.

As the year winds down, we are bringing you the longform features, newsletters, podcasts, and visual stories our subscribers loved and lauded in 2022. (In keeping with tradition, we are taking a break from our regular publishing schedule this week.)

We published 248 stories in our India edition in 2022. Of those, we handpicked 10 we believe to be the best, and also representative of our journalism this year.

These stories made it to the list because they were one or more of these things: a consequential scoop on a market leader; an investigation debunking the claims of a large company or government entity, or a definitive look at its inner workings; a public-interest story with far-reaching effects; and a contrarian take on a belief that has dictated government policy for decades, with billions of dollars at stake.

An audit reckoning—the $22B Byju’s juggernaut is yet to get Deloitte’s approval An audit reckoning—the $22B Byju’s juggernaut is yet to get Deloitte’s approval The Ken Read more

In a meticulously reported story, Jaspreet, Olina, and Arundhati blew the lid off the inordinate delay in edtech giant Byju’s filing of its financials for the year ended March 2021.

The jangle of numbers behind Dailyhunt, Josh’s dizzying US$5B valuation The jangle of numbers behind Dailyhunt, Josh’s dizzying US$5B valuation The Ken Read more

When the parent of news aggregator Dailyhunt and short-video platform Josh raised $800 million in April, it turned a lot of heads. But, as Soumyajit unearthed in this piece, there was more to the company’s industry-beating revenue and usage numbers than met the eye.

US think tank RMI’s swift rise to become Niti Aayog’s go-to cleantech advisor US think tank RMI’s swift rise to become Niti Aayog’s go-to cleantech advisor The Ken Read more

Niti Aayog, the central government think tank, has been making a case for India’s transition to clean energy and electric vehicles. And the most influential driving force in those efforts, writes Shruti, is an American non-profit funded by Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett, among others.

Shaky and shady: BharatPe’s problems go beyond Ashneer Grover Shaky and shady: BharatPe’s problems go beyond Ashneer Grover The Ken Read more

The ouster of Ashneer Grover from fintech BharatPe, over alleged misappropriation of company funds, was the most infamous event in India’s tech ecosystem in 2022. And Arundhati did an incredible job of pointing out how the rot extended to BharatPe’s business model.

The EPFO black box: Masking shoddy practices with high returns The EPFO black box: Masking shoddy practices with high returns The Ken Read more

The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation is among India’s largest money managers. Yet, Anand writes, it’s marked by a striking lack of transparency over everything, from its accounting practices to how it manages to deliver lucrative returns.

The invisible hand behind startups’ crazy valuation run The invisible hand behind startups’ crazy valuation run The Ken Read more

If you, like me, are puzzled by the incredible rise in startup valuations over a very short period, Gaurav and Anand’s story is a wonderful place to start. It takes you deep into the role played by valuers appointed by the startups themselves.

Why regional CEOs who helped Airtel fight Jio are leaving the telco Why regional CEOs who helped Airtel fight Jio are leaving the telco The Ken Read more

India’s telecom sector is never short on drama. Bharti Airtel put up an impressive fight to hold its own in the face of Reliance Jio’s onslaught a few years ago. But, many of Airtel’s regional executives who made that possible are no longer with the company. What exactly unfolded, and where does this leave Airtel? Pratap has the answers.

India has over 20K govt schemes but a family on average uses only 55, shows Haqdarshak data India has over 20K govt schemes but a family on average uses only 55, shows Haqdarshak data The Ken Read more

A startup centred around government schemes? Sounds very boring, no? Trust me, you’ll change your mind after reading Seema’s counterintuitive interview with Aniket Doegar, founder of Haqdarshak. It’s a six-year-old outfit helping over 100 companies take thousands of central- and state-government schemes to their workers.

The $500mn enigma that is Sequoia-backed agritech Absolute The $500mn enigma that is Sequoia-backed agritech Absolute The Ken Read more

Agritech is not a space where you see big fundraises and nosebleed valuations. Absolute was an exception, though, in 2022, raising $100 million from the likes of Sequoia and Alpha Wave Global at a $500 million valuation. But with R&D expenses at just 1.4% of its revenue, I wanted to answer this simple question: how much of a “plant-biotech company” is Absolute?

The bitter reality of no-added-sugar products The bitter reality of no-added-sugar products The Ken Read more

It’s hard to miss no-added-sugar products on supermarket shelves. From muesli to chocolates, from ice cream to Indian sweets, those three words adorn the packs of a range of items. In fact, they are the USP of those products. But, before you conclude that these foods are a great addition to your new diet plan, you have to read the revelations in Maitri’s story.

Lede image credit: Cristian Escobar/Unsplash

AUTHOR

Seetharaman G

Starting out as a business journalist in 2008, Seetharaman has written about energy, climate change, retail, banking, and technology. He has worked with Business Today, a fortnightly, and the Sunday edition of The Economic Times.

View Full Profile